Esuf and Wood win Suzuki Challenge Series titles

Esuf and Wood win Suzuki Challenge Series titles

Sol Esuf and Ryan Wood were crowned Champions of the SR3 Cup and Swift Cup respectively when the second Suzuki Challenge Series drew to a close during Radical International (January 28/29) at Bushy Park Barbados. Each driver had won his Summer Series title by a sufficient margin to claim the overall crown, despite failing to prevail in last weekend's Winter Cup.

  On his return to the series for the first time since last Easter, Trinidad & Tobago's Ryan Peyrau (Team Simpson Finance) became the first driver to win three Swift Cup races in one day with a dominant performance on Saturday, adding pole position and two fastest laps to his tally. A second pole position on Sunday, plus victory (with fastest lap) in the day's opening race virtually sealed the title, fourth and second places sufficient for him to carry off the Winter Cup trophy by a margin of 80 points from Wood (Team Digicel), who won the other two races, with Josh Read (Team Massy United Insurance) third.

  An equally crushing display came from Guyana's Kristian Jeffrey, whose four victories were shared equally across the two days of competition; he qualified on the front row of the grid on both days – on pole for Sunday's opening race – and finished third and eighth in the other two races to beat Reigning Champion Sean Maloney to the Winter Cup title by 27 points. Esuf finished third after a challenging weekend.

  With Practice, Qualifying and three races fitted into a roughly four-hour time frame on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, the two-round Winter Cup created a pressure-cooker atmosphere, not just for the drivers, but the pit crews as well. Switching the starting grid to the south side of the facility, right in front of the Automotive Art Pits, also served to create action-packed racing in both series.

  Having been fastest in Saturday afternoon Practice, Wood had to give best to Peyrau in the subsequent Qualifying session, the two key protagonists topping the time sheets, ahead of ‘Snappa'; Husbands (Team Williams Industries) and Norman Catwell, returning to racing after a lengthy break in the Team ICBL Swift Sport formerly driven by son Kyle. Wood's closest challengers in the title chase, Jason Parkinson (Team Infra Rentals/Sol) and Josh Read (Team Massy United Insurance) qualified sixth and eighth respectively.

  Peyrau's hat-trick of race wins virtually settled the Winter Cup before night fell, as he opened up a 29-point advantage over Wood (two seconds and an eighth), although he could not challenge Wood for the overall title, having missed all but two rounds of the Summer Series. Parkinson finished behind Wood in all three of Saturday's races, while Read beat him only once, so ‘Woody's overall title hopes were well on track.

  Pole position also went to Peyrau on Sunday morning, with Wood again alongside, this time ahead of Carlos Edwards (Team Rock Hard Cement), equalling his best Qualifying performance, and Husbands. Peyrau beat Wood to the chequered flag once again, picking up his third fastest lap along the way, but it would be his last win of the weekend; in the reverse-grid second race, Wood, Husbands, Parkinson and Barry Gale (Team Gale's Hatcheries) all took the Joker on the first lap, which created a lively seven-car tussle at the rear of the field. As seemingly half the field made contact at the W's, Wood and Peyrau took advantage, Wood going on to win, with Catwell second, while Peyrau dropped to fourth behind Parkinson after taking his Joker. It was fitting that the weekend's last race was won by less than a second, Wood leading fellow Champion-elect Peyrau across the line, with Gale completing the podium after an impressive weekend.

  The last few seconds of Saturday morning SR3 Cup Qualifying were electric, as first British teenager Jack Manchester, then Jeffrey, claimed provisional pole, before Esuf grabbed it on his final lap, despite having missed Practice with throttle cable failure. Stuart Maloney, David Simpson and Sean Maloney completed the top six. Esuf defended well for the first four laps, but Jeffrey found a way past pulling away for the first of two Saturday victories; third behind Sean Maloney and Simpson in the middle race gave him a 15-point lead in the Winter Cup, while Sean Maloney had edged a couple of points closer to Esuf in the overall title chase.

  Jeffrey prevailed in Sunday Qualifying, with Manchester again at the sharp end in second, ahead of Stuart and Mark Maloney, Esuf and British visitor Brian Caudwell. While Manchester certainly proved he has the pace, a difficult weekend for the race-winner in European events meant he did not achieve the results he was hoping for.

  Esuf's overall title aspirations took a big knock in Sunday's opening race, when his car was seriously damaged in an accident at The Hammer, which also involved UK brothers Brian and John Caudwell. A massive effort by crews from up and down the pit-lane saw his car restored to a useable, if rather battle-scarred, condition for the day's second race, which was delayed until after the final Swift Cup event had been run. Esuf repaid the efforts of all involved with victory, restoring his advantage over Sean Maloney, so that seventh place in the final race of the weekend was sufficient to win an impressive first major championship title exactly a year after his circuit racing debut.


Suzuki Challenge Series – Winter Cup, round 1 (January 28)

Swift Cup, Race 1: 1st Ryan Peyrau – T&T (Team Simpson Finance); 2nd Ryan Wood (Team Digicel); 3rd Kenrick Husbands (Team Williams Industries); 4th Josh Read (Team Massy United Insurance); 5th Jason Parkinson (Team Infra Rentals/Sol); 6th Daryl Clarke (Team Digicel); 7th Norman Catwell (Team ICBL); 8th Carlos Edwards (Team Rock Hard Cement); 9th Barry Gale (Team Gale's Agro Products) Race 2: 1st Peyrau; 2nd Read; 3rd N Catwell; 4th B Gale; 5th Husbands; 6th Wood; 7th Clarke; 8th Parkinson; 9th C Edwards Race 3: 1st Peyrau; 2nd Wood; 3rd N Catwell; 4th Read; 5th Parkinson; 6th B Gale; 7th Clarke; 8th C Edwards; 9th Husbands

Points after round 1: 1st Peyrau 75 points; 2nd Wood 44pts; 3rd Read 42pts; 4th N Catwell 36pts; 5th Husbands 27pts; 6th Parkinson 24pts; 7th B Gale 22pts; 8th Clarke 20pts; 9th C Edwards 10pts


SR3 Cup, Race 1: 1st Kristian Jeffrey – GUY; 2nd Suleman Esuf; 3rd Mark Maloney; 4th Stuart Maloney; 5th Sean Maloney; 6th David Simpson; 7th Ryan Gonsalves – SVG; 8th David Coelho - T&T; 9th John Caudwell – ENG; 10th Brian Caudwell – ENG; DNF Jack Manchester – ENG Race 2: 1st Sean Maloney; 2nd Simpson; 3rd Jeffrey; 4th Esuf; 5th M Maloney; 6th Manchester; 7th Gonsalves; 8th J Caudwell; 9th B Caudwell DNF Coelho, Stuart Maloney Race 3: 1st Jeffrey; 2nd Esuf; 3rd Sean Maloney; 4th Stuart Maloney; 5th B Caudwell; 6th M Maloney; 7th Simpson; 8th Gonsalves; 9th J Caudwell; 10th Manchester DNF Coelho

Points after round 1: 1st Jeffrey 65 points; 2nd Sean Maloney 50pts; 3rd Esuf 48pts; 4th M Maloney 33pts; 5th Simpson 32pts; 6th Stuart Maloney 24pts; 7th Gonsalves 16pts; 8th B Caudwell 13pts; 9th Manchester & J Caudwell 8pts; 11th Coelho 4pts


Suzuki Challenge Series – Winter Cup, round 2 (January 29)

Swift Cup, Race 1: 1st Peyrau; 2nd Wood; 3rd Read; 4th Parkinson; 5th B Gale; 6th Husbands; 7th Clarke; 8th C Edwards DNF Catwell Race 2: 1st Wood; 2nd N Catwell; 3rd Parkinson; 4th Peyrau; 5th B Gale; 6th C Edwards; 7th Clarke; 8th Read; 9th Husbands; Race 3: 1st Wood; 2nd Peyrau; 3rd B Gale; 4th Read; 5th Parkinson; 6th N Catwell; 7th C Edwards; 8th Clarke DNF Husbands

Winter Cup, final points: 1st Peyrau 130 points; 2nd Wood 112pts; 3rd Read 73pts; 4th N Catwell 62pts; 5th Parkinson 61pts; 6th B Gale 57pts; 7th Husbands 37pts; 8th Clarke 36pts; 9th C Edwards 28pts


Suzuki Challenge Series Swift Cup final points: 1st Wood 366 points; 2nd Parkinson 282pts; 3rd Read 272pts; 4th Peyrau 193pts; 5th Husbands 165pts; 5th Clarke 145pts; 7th C Edwards 126pts; 8th B Gale 114pts; 9th Kyle Catwell (Team ICBL) 101pts; 10th Dane Skeete (Team Simpson Finance) 77pts; 11th Pascal Calvel (Team Suzuki) 69pts; 12th N Catwell 62pts; 13th Arron Parris (Team Bushy Park Driving Experiences) 56pts; 14th David Summerbell Jnr (Team Simpson Finance) 18pts; 15th Derek Edwards (Team Digicel) 15pts; 16th Rhett Watson (Team ICBL) 14pts; 17th Timothy Stewart - JAM (Team Simpson Finance) 11pts; 18th Kristian Jeffrey – GUY (Team Suzuki) 8pts; 19th Freddie Gale (Team Gale's Agro Products) 4pts


SR3 Cup, Race 1: 1st Jeffrey; 2nd Stuart Maloney; 3rd M Maloney; 4th Sean Maloney; 5th Simpson; 6th Gonsalves DNF Manchester, Coelho, Esuf, B Caudwell, J Caudwell Race 2: 1st Esuf; 2nd B Caudwell; 3rd Sean Maloney; 4th Manchester; 5th Simpson; 6th Stuart Maloney; 7th M Maloney; 8th Jeffrey; 9th Gonsalves; 10th J Caudwell; DNF Coelho Race 3: 1st Jeffrey; 2nd M Maloney; 3rd Sean Maloney; 4th Stuart Maloney; 5th Simpson; 6th Gonsalves; 7th Esuf; 8th J Caudwell; 9th Manchester; DNF B Caudwell; DNS Coelho

Winter Cup, final points: 1st Jeffrey 119 points; 2nd Sean Maloney 92pts; 3rd Esuf 79pts; 4th M Maloney 72pts; 5th Stuart Maloney 62pts; 6th Simpson 62pts; 7th Gonsalves 34pts; 8th B Caudwell 31pts; 9th Manchester 22pts; 10th J Caudwell 13pts; 11th Coelho 4pts


Suzuki Challenge Series SR3 Cup final points: 1st Esuf 252 points; 2nd Stuart Maloney 205pts; 3rd Sean Maloney 199pts; 4th Simpson 191pts; 5th M Maloney 190pts; 6th Jeffrey 178pts; 7th Timothy Stewart – JAM 35pts; 8th Ryan Gonsalves – SVG 34pts; 9th Coelho 32pts; 10th B Caudwell 31pts; 11th Mark Vieira - GUY 30pts; 12th James Abbott - ENG 27pts; 13th Calvin Ming - GUY 24pts; 14th Manchester 22pts; 15th J Caudwell 13pts


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